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Principal: GSMST building now 'becoming a reality'

LAWRENCEVILLE - The final structural beam of the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology's new building was to be installed Thursday afternoon, but stormy weather dampened that plan.

"Instead, we're (getting the opportunity) to sit inside what will, in my opinion, be one of the greatest facilities in our country," GSMST principal Jeff Mathews said during the school's topping off ceremony.

Students, teachers, school district employees and community leaders sat in what will become the media center of the system's most rigorous high school. The school's permanent facility is scheduled to open in 2010 on McElvaney Lane in Lawrenceville.

"The vision is becoming a reality," Mathews said. "The walls are literally going up around us."

The building will include 64 classrooms, six computer labs, five engineering labs, 14 science labs and two lecture halls, Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks said.

"A school is much more than steel girdles and brick and mortar," Wilbanks said. "It's about the students, teachers and what our core business is - teaching and learning."

Nikhil Lakhanpal, the student body president, said the building will house some of the most intelligent minds in the county, if not the country.

"A few years ago, this was not much more than an idea, a utopia for students that strive to succeed," he said. "This is the second chapter in our odyssey toward infinite possibilities."